Hacking My (Dot) Life

I am a web developer

I’m happy to say that last week I got an internship as a Junior Web Developer at an IT solutions company.  I was looking for a job as a junior developer but even for those, you had to have years of experience and a hefty portfolio (which I was still working on).  I came across a few positions for internships and I noticed that not all of them required the person to be a student.  I mentioned this to my SO, and he happened to mention it to a friend, who happens to be a developer.  Turns out his boss had mentioned wanting to take on an intern to help with a small dev project.  Within 3 days of my SO having casually mentioned this to his friend, I was sitting in the office meeting with him and his boss, and the following Monday, I started working, just like that.

I have to say, that a lot of what I have previously read about your first job in tech in correct: a lot of times, it’s just about people knowing you are hungry to learn.  I am incredibly grateful that someone took the time to sit with me, they know the cards of the level of my expertise and decided to give me an opportunity to continue growing while working on their vision.  I wish I had taken the advice of so many people before me: go to a lot of meet-ups, eventually you’ll start seeing that some people attend regularly, and eventually you’ll meet someone and you never know.

I’ve learned more in the past 2 weeks working on a real project than I have on my own these past few years on this self-taught journey.  I love that this field is very accepting to folks that are self taught and may not possess a computer science degree, or even a degree at all.  However, being self-taught is hard.  If you don’t have an actual path to follow, it can be tricky.  It’s been difficult for me because I go by public forums and I’d look up at open job positions and I’d read what hiring companies looked for in the developers they were hiring.  I felt I needed to know Javascript, Angular, React, Node, MVC, WPF, all these things that I felt i just needed to know just to even be considered.  I would jump back and forth between learning different things, and I was never really learning anything in depth.  I also burned out a few times, or took time off of learning to kind of go and take care of real life things.

Working full time in a non-dev job while being a full-time parent and taking time to learn didn’t leave much time for personal things/relationships sometimes.  I’d burn out, stop for a few days/weeks and then get back to it, start reviewing things I forgot, and the cycle began again.  Being immersed in the environment has helped so much.  I’m going long stretches of just speaking, reading about development, picking the brain of another developer and seeing how things actually work in the “real world”.

I know there’s a level of “luck” to my having landed this role, but it’s all about sharing your journey with others.  You never know when an opportunity will land on your lap.  So, go and look up where the meet-ups in your area are happening.  I’ll just leave the Meet-up link for you right over here.  Don’t waste time, just go.

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